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Analysing the life-cycle energy of an Australian residential building and its householders


Treloar, G and Fay, MR and Love, PED and Iyer-Raniga, U, Analysing the life-cycle energy of an Australian residential building and its householders, Building Research and Information, 28, (1) pp. 31 - 41. ISSN 0961-3218 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/096132100369073


Energy use is a widely used measure of the environmental impact of buildings. Recent studies have high-lighted the importance of both the operational and embodied energy attributable to buildings over their life-time. The method of assessing lifetime building energy is known as life-cycle energy analysis. With Kyoto target obligations necessitating the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, it seems increasingly probable that analyses of this kind will increase in use. If conducted in primary energy terms, such analyses directly reflect greenhouse gas emissions, except for a few processes which involve significant non-energy related emissions such as cement manufacture. A Life-Cycle Assessment would include these issues, as well as other environmental parameters, though probably with a corresponding decrease in system boundary completeness. This paper briefly explains some of the theoretical issues associated with life-cycle energy analysis and then uses an Australian based case study to demonstrate its use in evaluating alternative design strategies for an energy efficient residential building. For example, it was found that the addition of higher levels of insulation in Australia paid back its initial embodied energy in life-cycle energy terms in around 12 years. However, the saving represented less than 6% of the total embodied energy and operational energy of the building over a 100-year life cycle. This indicates that there may be other strategies worth pursuing before additional insulation. Energy efficiency and other environmental strategies should be prioritized on a life-cycle basis. © 2000 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architecture not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Construction
Objective Group:Other Construction
Objective Field:Construction not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Fay, MR (Professor Roger Fay)
ID Code:45490
Year Published:2000
Web of Science® Times Cited:179
Deposited By:Architecture
Deposited On:2007-09-11
Last Modified:2007-09-11

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